After drawing flaks from various quarters over the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) issue, the state government has finally found some support in the matter in the form of Peace Co-ordination Committee for PRC Deprived People of Changlang and Namsai districts.
The committee, which sat for a meeting here on Friday, welcomed the controversial announcements of chief minister Pema Khandu and deputy chief minister Chowna Mein and also condemned the organizations, societies, individuals and political parties who opposed it.
“The ones who have opposed the announcement do not know the actual fact of the deprived people,” the committee said.
Khandu, while addressing a public meeting at Vijaynagar in Changlang on December 14, had announced that his government was looking into the odds of granting permanent resident certificates to six non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts and to the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar.
He, however, had said the interests of the indigenous population would be taken into consideration and cut-off dates would be set to qualify for permanent resident certificates.
Mein had said in Assam recently that granting permanent resident certificates to the non-APSTs would be a New Year gift for them.
Interacting with media persons after the meeting, the Peace Co-ordination Committee members requested the ones opposing the granting of PRCs to know the origin and genealogy of the non-APSTs first before making any comment and also stay away from creating communal tension.
“The non-APST communities of Namsai and Changlang have been waiting since decades for this moment. They have been deprived of their basis rights by the government since independence. Despite being Indian citizens, they have not been enjoying their Right to Freedom which, even the Indian Constitution guarantees to every denizen of this country,” the committee said.
The committee further said that considering the genuine facts and rights of the people living in the two districts, the state government has taken a commendable decision to consider issuing PRCs to them.
“We on behalf of the committee in particular and deprived people of the affected areas in general welcome the landmark decision of the state government,” the committee said while anticipating that the government would not roll back its decision.
Several other organisations like the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union, All Papum Pare District Students’ Union, Arunachal Pradesh Abotani Community Confederation, Students United Movement of All Arunachal and Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee have already expressed resentment against the statements made by Khandu and Mein.
The Nyishi Ethnic Students’ of Arunachal (NESA) one of such organizations, on Friday said that the government was undermining the sentiments of the indigenous people of the state by promising to grant PRCs to the non-APST community.
“The work of an elected leader is to focus on development and safeguard the rights of the indigenous people. Instead of doing so, the BJP leaders are polluting the peaceful scenario of the State by making such statements and assurance to non-APSTs,” NESA spokesperson Byabang Noah Dui said in a statement.
The association cautioned that it would not stay silent on the issue and would resort to democratic movements if the statements were not taken back by the chief minister and his deputy.
“Pema Khandu and Chowna Mein are selling the rights of indigenous people of the state,” the Union said while demanding an apology from the duo for allegedly hurting the sentiments of the people.